Only 2 days to go now before my first and belated attempt at a Cyclo-Sportive on Sunday morning at Woodcote near Reading at 8:00am. This sees my debut in one of these events, lets hope its favourable.
I Had my last preparation ride this morning, A 37 mile loop around the west of Bedford following a couple of longer rides earlier in the week and more over the last few weeks. I have done over 360 miles in the last 3 weeks. It’s good for me to have a purpose for riding. Earlier in the year it was Alpe d’Huez and recently this Sportive so next I have to look for another target to aim for.
I am number 193 in a field of 223 for the mid length, 100km event around the Chiltern Hills. There is also a 135km event and a 77km event. I will be happy if my finish position is higher than my number. Given that I am 67 and the age range of riders starts at 18! There are three standards to aim for, Gold, Silver and Bronze. I will aim for Gold which means finishing in under 4 hours but will be happy with Silver which is around 4.5 hours. Thats nailing my colours to the mast I guess. Its quite a hilly route so its going to be a case of keeping some energy back for the end and not going too mad from the start. Find a pace I am comfortable with and not get carried away with keeping up with younger and fitter riders. Thats the theory anyway! There is shelter to be had from sitting in behind a group if they are not going too fast so there is a trade off. I will just see how things roll out on the day. They are allegedly non-competitive events but I dont think they usually turn out that way. There is usually a bit of ‘edge’ to be had from what I understand, reading between the lines. The fact that there is a results sheet assists me in that belief too.
Electronic timing tags are fitted to the bikes before the event and there are a couple of feed stations along the route with energy drinks and energy bars and gels are supplied but I am going to take my own and top up if needs be. There is also a ‘Broom Wagon’ that follows behind the event to ‘sweep up’ those that run out of legs or encounter some kind of mechanical problem. I am hoping to have no dealings with that at all. Altogether a well organised event it seems. They have been running a series of these events all year but this is the first I have really been able to enter to various reasons.